HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – Little-known Troy Merritt one-upped the Masters champion Jordan Spieth at the RBC Heritage.
Merritt shot a 10-under 61 on Friday to tie the course record at Harbour Town Golf Links only a few hours after Spieth wowed the gallery with a bounce-back 62 to match his lowest PGA Tour round.
Merritt tied David Frost’s tournament mark set in 1994 and topped the leaderboard at 12-under 130, a stroke off the 36-hole event record shared by Jack Nicklaus and Phil Mickelson.
Merritt, who opened with a 69 on Thursday, saw Spieth’s score in the morning and knew the opportunity was there to go low.
“Anytime that you match shot for shot with the Masters champ, with the way he’s playing, it’s a pretty good feeling,” said Merritt, whose career best in four seasons on the PGA Tour is a tie for second last year at the St. Jude Classic.
Spieth looked like the headliner Friday, following a 74 on Thursday with the 62 – which tied his career low set at the Deutsche Bank Championship in 2013.
The 21-year-old Texan has been on a major role the past month, winning the Valspar Championship and finishing second in San Antonio and Houston before capturing his first major title at Augusta National last week.
Spieth birdied his final two holes at Harbour Town, electrifying the crowds already there to cheer him, to shoot the lowest tournament round in 10 years – until Merritt did him one better.
Merritt had nine birdies over his final 10 holes to surge on top and send Spieth six shots behind on a day of low, low scoring. Merritt e